The New Commission
Exodus 6:11, 13
Go in, speak to Pharaoh king of Egypt, that he let the children of Israel go out of his land.…

And Moses spoke so, etc.: Exodus 6:9.

I. THE AUDACITY OF FAITH. Describe the treatment of Moses and Aaron. They acted under Divine direction, did their very best, but just because everything did not go well instantly, and that through the frowardness and waywardness of others, the people turned upon them, and upbraided them as accessories to their slavery. [See Matthew Henry for some valuable practical notes on this and other parts of this passage from Exodus 5:22-6:13.] Moses felt this keenly, and in a moral sense retreated upon his base - that is, upon God. Compare Hezekiah and the letter. Alone with God, Moses complained. Moses is very bold - tells God to his face that he has not delivered Israel at all; that he has brought evil upon the nation, already oppressed to the border of despair; and challenges the Eternal as to his own commission. All this is high tragedy in the realms of spiritual life, and may well demand consideration. Consider -

1. The audacity of Moses. See Exodus 5:22, 23. Is this the language of enquiry or entreaty? Not at all. Of impetuosity, of remonstrance; it borders on the irreverent; the tone is angry, and nearly rebellious. [Note - Such a speech as this would never have been put into the mouth of Moses by any later writer - sure mark this, that we have the history under the hand of Moses.] Such expressions are not uncommon with Old Testament saints. See especially Jeremiah 20:7, et seq. We learn that believers do not stand related to God as stones lying under a cast-iron canopy of destiny. They are quivering sensibilities in the presence of the Father of spirits. What they feel, they may say; better to say it. And if an earthly parent will make allowances for an angry, misapprehending child, shall not our Father in heaven? "Let us therefore come boldly," etc.

2. The error of Moses. God was all the time working in the direction of salvation for the people and of extraordinary eminence for Moses; but he thought everything looked the other way. A similar error may be ours.

3. The accomplishment of the Divine purpose in Moses. To draw him away from all secondary causes, to dependence on and communion with God.

II. THE CONDESCENDING FORBEARANCE OF GOD. In answer to the cry of Moses, God made five announcements of the very first importance. They were made with distinctness, formality, and solemnity. Note - Them may have been an interval of months between the cry and these announcements. Note also, that this is not a second account of the revelation of the Burning Bush. The true explanation of the likeness between the two revelations is, that Moses having fallen into a desponding state of mind, God recalled to him first principles. So now, one cure at least for discouragement is to fall back on elemental Gospel truths. God announced -

1. His resolve: ver. 1, see Hebrew; and expound the true meaning. Pharaoh would be forced, not only to "send" Israel out, but to "drive" them out.

2. His name. First, God gave again his proper name, "Jehovah;" and then we have a positive and a negative declaration -

(1) Positive. To the fathers God had been known as El-Shaddai - God all-sufficient - that is, to and for them in their moving tents.

(2) Negative. This may not mean that "Jehovah" had never fallen on their ear; but this, that all in that name had not dawned on their intelligence. God's revelation of himself is always gradual. So it is in the gradual unfolding of the successive Bible economies. And so it is still. Modern science cannot give us a different idea of God; but an enlarged idea, and one vastly illuminated. Dr. Chalmers when delivering his "Astronomical Discourses' had a grander idea of God than John Milton. Geology tells us of the aeons through which he works. Microscopical revelations tell of the infinitude of his condescensions. As Diderot said: "Elargissez Dieu" - Enlarge your idea of God.

3. His covenant: ver. 4.

4. His sympathy: ver. 5. With new sorrows.

5. His salvation: vers. 6, 7, 8. It is impossible to read these verses without noting the parallel with a still greater salvation. God promised -

(1) Deliverance. Note the "burden-bearing" (see the Hebrews) of sin - its essential servitude - the redemption price - the power, the outstretched arm, with which salvation is wrought - the judgment on powers of darkness, Colossians 2:15.

(2) Adoption.

(3) The land of rest. These blessings for us, as for them, on the condition of implicit trust.

III. THE DEAFENING POWER OF SORROW: ver. 9. The contrast now and Exodus 4:31. "On a former occasion the people were comparatively at ease, accustomed to their lot, sufficiently afflicted to long for deliverance, and sufficiently free in spirit to hope for it." Now! - ver. 9. Observe the Hebrews, "shortness of breath," i.e. such as comes with anguish; or may not the meaning be, "shortness of spirit," as we say "shortness of temper"? This verse is against the theory that Israel, by sheer force of religious enthusiasm, emancipated itself. For them, as for us, no salvation save in Jehovah their God. Sorrow may shut out comfort. How many mistakenly stay away from the sanctuary because of their grief!

IV. THE PERSISTENCE OF THE DELIVERING GOD. In this extremity of woe, God appears. The demand once was for a three days' absence; now God uncovers all his purpose. Ver. 11 is the ultimatum of God. This new commission overwhelms Moses with a deeper sense of incompetence. He pleads -

1. The aversion of his own people. Effective homiletic use may here be made of the fact, that much of the strength of ministers, which might be used against the enemies of God, is used in dealing with the frowardness.of his professed friends.

2. His own infirmity. There may be here a sense of moral unfitness - "uncircumcised lips" - and a latent reference to the disobedience, Exodus 4:24-26. God did not allow these pleas; but put the two leaders forward once more into the position of responsibility, peril, and honour (ver. 13). - R.

Parallel Verses
KJV: Go in, speak unto Pharaoh king of Egypt, that he let the children of Israel go out of his land.

WEB: "Go in, speak to Pharaoh king of Egypt, that he let the children of Israel go out of his land."

The Uncircumcised Lips
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